• Employee Injury? Check Out the New OSHA Reporting Rules.
  • November 13, 2014 | Authors: John J. Buckley; George C. Hlavac
  • Law Firm: Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. A Professional Corporation - Allentown Office
  • Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule that significantly changes an employer’s duty to report work-related fatality, injury, and illness information to the agency. The new rule also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, a topic that will be addressed in a later post.

    The current rule requires all employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act—even those exempt from maintaining injury and illness records—to notify OSHA of the in-patient hospitalization of 3 or more employees due to a work-related incident as well as any workplace-related fatality. These incidents must be reported to the nearest OSHA area office or OSHA’s toll-free hotline within 8 hours.

    The new rule, which goes into effect January 1, 2015, greatly expands employers’ reporting obligations. Under the new rule, employers must report any work-related in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss to OSHA within 24 hours of the incident. If the employer does not learn of the reportable incident at the time it occurs, the employer must report it to OSHA within 24 hours of learning of it. Employers are not required to report an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss if it occurs more than 24 hours beyond the work-related incident. Further, even though the 8-hour reporting requirement for work-related fatalities is unchanged, only fatalities occurring within 30 days of a work-related incident must be reported.

    In addition, the new rule allows employers to report incidents electronically through OSHA’s web site. OSHA has indicated that the data reported to it will be posted online in order to incentivize employers to ensure a safe workplace for their employees.

    In light of this new rule, employers must be aware of the new reporting requirements that they will face and the prospect of increased interactions—and possibly even inspections—with OSHA.